Tag: Oklahoma

Tom Coburn thinks he is Don Quixote

December 5, 2010

Facebook | Oklahomans for Motor Vehicle Safety.

Our fanatical senator (ok, ONE of our fanatical senators, the younger one), is on one of his high horses, not that he ever gets off that horse. This time he’s blocking legislation that got 99 votes from the rest of the Senate. Yes, our hero is single-handedly holding up a live-saving bill that will require future buses to have seat belts and other safety measures like roof reinforcements.

Of course, as my friend Jean said, buses are only used by poor people, so of course Dr. No does not care. Come to think of it, Don Quixote did not hate the poor like Tom Coburn, so my apologies to Cervantes.

Please, PLEASE call Sen. Coburn on Monday or Tuesday. Let him know that Oklahomans do not appreciate his egotism and ridiculous obstruction on this bill. The phone numbers are at the page linked above.

Update: Tom Coburn does not hate the poor. Like all congressional Republicans, hatred for the poor would require more consideration than he is willing to give them. Again like his colleagues, he just loves the rich SOOOOO much that he is willing to let the poor die unnecessarily at their hands if a greater profit is involved.

Peace Arena regrets the error.

Why can’t we work together to build a coordinated progressive community in Oklahoma?

February 26, 2010

Tonight I found out about yet another campaign of critical interest to progressive Oklahomans that is taking place all this month culminating this week with special events, and Friday at the state Capitol — and it’s Midnight of that Friday as I discover the info (rather accidentally) and write this.

Earlier this week, a health care rally on the Capitol steps sparsely attended because few knew about it. Amazingly, the Oklahoman actually covered it, and printed a picture of three or four people. Imagine if a couple of hundred supporters of health care reform had been there and THAT picture had been printed. It would not have changed the vote of any Oklahoma elected official, but the psychological effect on other supporters, and possibly on the public might have been priceless.

Not that I personally should be singled out for notification, that’s not what I’m getting at. (Though no doubt part of my frustration at the moment lies in the fact that, in addition to this blog, I have been operating what seeks to be a central Oklahoma progressive events calendar, for 5 years or so, and have tried and tried to get it read and recognized by the community as a tool they might find useful for their own work. It remains obscure and I pick up news of events to add to it wherever I happen to come across them, missing many, finding many too late. I also sometimes despair of its point and don’t bother updating it.)

No, this is about community, or the lack of it, in what I somewhat facetiously call the “Oklahoma progressive community.” I know it’s larger than many outside it suspect, but how can you fault them for being unaware, we never are seen together, are we?

We are in the middle of arguably the most conservative, politically closed state in the country. It’s understood that with rare exceptions, we cannot count on the corporate media in this area to do one bit of this communication for us; quite the opposite — we almost hope to be ignored by that media, rather than have our mission, our words, our efforts, sarcastically demeaned in public.

We have to find or create other means, if we want to find a way to support our activities, expand the reach of our voices, engage in making real social change, rather than just bemoaning our fate amongst ourselves.

A number of organizations have their internal email lists and phone banks, which operate at varying levels of efficiency and effectiveness, depending on volunteer activity that ebbs and flows. Sometimes the best to hope for is getting that small list alerted so some event or action.

In the last year, quite a few Okie progressives have found Facebook to be a way to build some worthwhile connections, using tools there for forming groups, posting events and the like. But many, including some of the most informed, either don’t want anything to do with online networking, or if they do, use it sparingly, or just don’t have the time to add it to their already packed agendas.

But why can’t we do better? Why can’t we find a way to communicate with one another? Then, having this community awareness, supporting one another’s actions and events, projects and campaigns.

I believe that finding ways to communicate better would expand our numbers as well as the enthusiasm for participating, volunteering and working for change.

If we did have the tools and commitment to engage in such communication, what would it look like? What do we need to build to make that happen? How do we build it? Once such an infrastructure is build, how do we nurture and promote it to keep it thriving?

Is this a pipe dream in Oklahoma? Are we just fated to be permanently alienated, in our small disconnected cliques, griping about how ineffectual it all is?

Or am I just having a bad week?

Are OK Dems opposed to opposing Coburn?

December 25, 2009

Senator Tom CoburnOver on the Democrats of Oklahoma Community Forum, there is a discussion about the Senate race against Coburn next year. Unless I am misunderstanding it, some are apparently arguing that Dr. No should not even have a Democratic opponent next year, he’s just “unbeatable,” the party’s broke, etc.

I’m registered as a Democrat because of this state’s restrictive ballot access laws that let the R’s and D’s freeze out third parties, but I’m a Green at heart. It seems to me that if a supposedly “major” party that gets a ballot listing regardless of its strength in the state can’t field a challenge for U.S. SENATE, it shouldn’t be in a position to keep other parties on the sidelines.

Frankly, if the Oklahoma Democratic Party doesn’t run a candidate for the effing SENATE, it deserves to fade into obscurity. Talk about an embarrassment! Unexpected things can happen, you know, to candidates and to public perceptions — even in Oklahoma. George Allen (remember him?) was supposed to be a sitting Senator with a lock on the R presidential nomination in 2012. Ted “Series of Tubes” Stevens was supposed to be Senator from Alaska for life, and now Begich (D) has that seat and is voting aye for health care reform. Of course it will be difficult and odds-defying, but to not even field a candidate is even more insane.

This is especially the case with Coburn’s recently exposed shenanigans with “The Fellowship” aka “The Family” in DC, as a negotiator between Ensign and his mistress. Just to have a chance to throw that dirt on the campaign trail must have some Okie salivating!

I can’t believe this can be the case, although no one has announced publicly, it’s still possible that a candidate is waiting until after the beginning of the year (though for a race of this magnitude, it’s getting quite late). If it is, I hope the Libertarians (the largest third party) or even the hibernating OK Greens will run someone. It would be a great opportunity for those forced to be benchwarmers to get on the political map around here.

Nuclear Disarmament tour to stop in OKC Sunday

September 30, 2009

Got this email this afternoon from Batch at the Peace House.

LATE-BREAKING OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT:

PROGRAM: Nuclear Disarmament in Congress & around USA

Sunday, October 4th

4:30 pm – – – – – Gather: Snacks, Refreshments, Solidarity

4:45-6:00 pm – PROGRAM: speakers, power-point, short video

COMMUNITY HALL: Church of the Open Arms
3131 N. Pennsylvania Ave. OKC

Two speakers on a national tour supporting nuclear disarmament will be in OKC, Sunday, Oct. 4 to present a program including PowerPoint and short video. They represent www.prop1.org – – –  taking their program to 12 states including Oklahoma.

“We should all be nuclear disarmament activists, as we are all activists for abolition of the death penalty, racism, homophobia, and for sustainability.”
               – – – – – Nathaniel Batchelder

US Representatives, Eleanor Holmes Norton, re-introduced for the NINTH time her “Nuclear Disarmament and Economic Conversion Act,” HR-1653, which was inspired by www.prop1.org.

The bill was first introduced in 1994, then 1995, 1997, and 1999, when U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey (CA) joined Ms. Norton and several experts on nuclear disarmament issues to announce active support for the legislation, and again in 2001, 2003, and 2005, when Representative Woolsey, plus John Lewis and Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, and Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas, quickly signed on, and in 2007 (see Ms. Norton’s announcement).

Other co-sponsors have included Fortney Pete Stark (California), David Minge and James Oberstar (Minnesota), Charles Rangel (New York), Al Wynn (Maryland), Earl Hilliard (Alabama). As each Congressional session ends, all unvoted-on legislation expires and must be re-introduced. Your help is needed in obtaining LOTS of co-sponsors in this Congress! So far Representatives Dennis Kucinich (OH) and John Lewis (GA) have agreed verbally to co-sponsor. Bipartisan support would be very helpful.

It’s nice that they stopped here, and I plan to attend, but the chances of getting any Oklahoma legislator to co-sponsor this idea anytime soon are nil. Nonetheless, the education is important.

Attorney to challange Sally Kern for HD 84 seat

September 28, 2009

Brittany Novotny and Todd GoodmannIn what may prove to be the most interesting House race in Oklahoma next year, local attorney Brittany Novotny announced her campaign to challange uber-wingnut Sally Kern.

The voters of House District 84 deserve a representative who will fight for them.  So today, I’m officially announcing my candidacy for State Representative.  I believe I have the drive, dedication, and determination to fight for the people of the district on the real issues they face—jobs, education, and transportation.  I look forward to the opportunity to meet with my neighbors and voters in the district in the coming year as we build this grassroots campaign to give the voters a real choice to have a representative who will fight for their issues and build a brighter future for Oklahoma.

Some coverage of the news;
NewsOK
KSBI-TV
Tulsa World

Photo of Brittany and Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Todd Goodman, taken tonight at the fundraiser in El Reno for Larry Peck, who is running to fill the seat vacated recently by Ryan McMullan.

How will the Democrats’ health care reform benefit Oklahoma?

August 27, 2009

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Henry Waxman, is one of the House committees that has produced a bill to address health care reform. Waxman is a fierce advocate of real reform, and he and his committee staff have come up with a great way to demonstrate the benefits the bill would produce broken down by congressional district.

In an easy-to-underand one-page printable handout, the positive consequeces of passing the bill is presented in terms of

  • supporting small business,
  • helping seniors with drug costs
  • giving citizens health care and financial security
  • unburdening the insured from the cost of hospitalizing the uninsured
  • giving most of those currently uninsured a way to get good, affordable coverage for when disaster strikes

All done without deficit spending by making health care programs more efficient and raising taxes slightly for the very wealthiest.

Here is the breakdown for Oklahoma districts:

h/t Booman Tribune

Oklahoma progressives pushing back against health care reform disinformation and myths

August 23, 2009

I got the following email from MoveOn.org this morning, but I’m always getting grandiose action items from them that don’t take into account that Oklahoma has completely hopeless representation in DC. So I wondered if there really would be such an event in OK.

Dear MoveOn member,

August is the make-or-break month for health care reform.

Can you come to an event with Senator Tom Coburn in Oklahoma City tomorrow at 12 p.m.?

Right-wing extremists have been crashing tons of events and trying to dominate the national debate. We can’t let them succeed—so MoveOn members are pushing back with Real Voices for Change, an ambitious campaign to show that the overwhelming majority of Americans support President Obama’s plans for change.

Now, we need to make sure Sen. Coburn knows that his constituents are counting on him to pass health care reform with a real public health insurance option—that’s the key to expanding coverage and helping bring down costs for all of us. Important votes on health care will come up as soon as Congress returns to Washington, so this is the critical moment to stand up for health care reform.

The event location in Oklahoma City is: Chase Bank, Lobby. Click here to RSVP:

[…]

We’re in a critical month for President Obama’s agenda. Corporate lobbyists are trying to weaken or kill both his health care and energy plans.

And recently, right-wingers have been hijacking town halls and other public events. They’re even using fraudulent tactics, like bringing in people who don’t live in the district.1 We urgently need to make sure everyday constituents are heard in the public debate over health care—and coming to this event is a timely and easy way to do that.

Can you be there on Monday at 12 p.m.?

[…]

Thanks for all you do.

–Nita, Anna, Lenore, Ilya and the rest of the team

Source:

1. “Local Fox Reporter Attends Town Hall And Finds ‘Some Attendees Admit They Don’t Live In The District,'” Think Progress, August 4, 2009
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51716&id=16955-17202657-Tp1h66x&t=8

But later I got an email from the Oklahoma County Democratic Party promoting the event, so it’s on; local progressives are on it and fighting back.

Can you come to an event with Senator Tom Coburn in Oklahoma City or Del City? Join fellow Democrats in attendance at the Coburn Town Hall Meetings.

Important votes on health care will come up as soon as Congress returns to Washington, so this is the critical moment to stand up for health care reform.

Downtown Oklahoma City
Monday, August 24, 2009
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Chase Bank building lobby
100 North Broadway, NW Corner of Main and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Del City Town Hall
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
4:00 PM -5:00 PM
First Southern Baptist Church of Del City
6400 South Sooner Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73135

Take a few minutes to read through the facts, and possible misrepresentations, before going to the meeting, we have provided a couple of links below.

Here is a web site that offers many useful tools and resources including signs you can print out at home to bring to the event (signs found down at #6, Share with Others): http://www.everydaycitizen.com/2009/08/all_hands_on_deck_we_need_your.html

Here is information offered by the White House that may also help you.

If you cannot link directly, please visit healthreform.Gov : http://www.healthreform.gov/

Why Oklahoma Needs Health Reform:

Clearing Up the Myths: Debunking the Junk in the Health Reform Debate

 

We need to make sure Sen. Coburn knows that his constituents are counting on him to pass health care reform with a real public health insurance option—that’s the key to expanding coverage and helping bring down costs for all of us.

Thanks for all you do!

Oklahoma County Democrats

Deeds of Giving are the Foundation of the Democratic Party

So if you have quixotic courage and faith in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds (this IS Coburn we’re talking about), join me and others to show Oklahoma that there are sane alternatives to the tea bag fear and madness.

Note that MoveOn suggested getting there at 10 AM for the Noon event.

Ex-soldier appeals desertion court-martial – Army News, news from Iraq, – Army Times

August 7, 2009
Source: www.armytimes.com
    Camilo Mejia, first CO of Iraq War who was imprisoned at Ft. Sill for 10 months, wants Army to overturn his conviction for desertion. He asserted torture was taking place, and Army refused to allow, but then after Camilo was released, Abu Graib came out.